UK Review of Vaccine Compensation Scheme Ordered by Health Secretary Amidst Dramatic Surge in Claims

The Health Secretary has ordered a review of the vaccine compensation scheme after a surge in claims following the pandemic.

Victoria Atkins has asked officials to reform the Vaccine Damage Payment Scheme (VDPS), which campaigners argue is no longer fit for purpose. The scheme has struggled to cope with the overwhelming number of claims from individuals suffering side-effects after receiving Covid vaccines. The number of claims has dramatically increased in recent years, with 4,008 claims made in 2023 alone.

Conservative MPs have been advocating for reforms to adequately compensate those who have experienced severe side-effects and are unable to work. The VDPS currently awards a one-off tax-free payment of £120,000 to eligible individuals.

However, former attorney general Sir Jeremy Wright has raised concerns about the scheme and called for swift action to address the issue. He suggested that the government should intervene in the ongoing class-action case against AstraZeneca or increase the amount of compensation provided by the VDPS. Charlet Crichton, founder of the charity UK CV Family, criticized the scheme as antiquated and insufficient for funding litigation against pharmaceutical companies.

Families who lost loved ones due to the AstraZeneca vaccine have abandoned their lawsuits after being informed of slim chances of success. Legal experts believe that a leaflet warning about rare side-effects associated with the vaccine may protect AstraZeneca from liability in cases involving doses administered after April 7, 2021.

The Department of Health and Social Care has stated that efforts have been made to streamline and modernize the VDPS to process claims more efficiently and ensure prompt outcomes for claimants.

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By Kate Stephenson
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